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Brandermill accident victim leaves behind ailing husband, distraught neighbors

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)--Just a half a mile from her Midlothian home, police say a 68-year-old woman lost control and crashed in the side yard of a home on Fortune’s Ridge Road in Brandermill, leaving behind stunned neighbors and a husband who says he desperately needs her.

Mud marks and a piece of a tree branch are all that’s left of a Thursday morning accident that cost Ilona Manger her life at the corner of North Beach and Fortune’s Ridge.

"Police came and stayed in front of Henry's house,” said neighbor Horst Roepke. “I said something is wrong."

Police would tell Henry Manger that his wife was in a terrible car accident, just a half-mile from their Brandermill home. Ilona Manger was rushed to a local hospital where she later died.

"You just never expect it," said Roepke.

Roepke lives next door, and says like his family, the Mangers were from Germany, and so they became close from the start.

"When they found out we were German, that's why they bought that house," said Roepke.

Roepke says some years back  Ilona was diagnosed with multiple schlerosis.  He says her husband Henry has been battling cancer for at least three years and that other than hospice checking in, Ilona Manger  took great care of him.

"It's hard for Henry to eat with his mouth cancer,” said Roepke.  “She'd feed him through a tube."

Neighbors tell me Ilona Manger was very nice, but also a private person.  Her only family member is a sister that lives in Germany.  She re-united with that sister about 19 years ago.

"They were separated after WWII," said Roepke.

The Chesterfield Police crash team is handling the investigation.  They're still trying to piece together what may have caused Manger to lose control and run off the road.